A hand-painted mug from Tunisia. A scarf from Thailand. Cocoa powder from Ghana.
You might not travel to any of those places, but thanks to GlobeIn, you can receive these handcrafted items in your home while empowering entrepreneurs in developing countries around the world.
GlobeIn Co-Founder Liza Moiseeva is an integral part of the company’s operations. While her current role is in marketing, she’s worn many hats over the years to get the business off the ground.
Moiseeva grew up in Moscow, where she says her access to information about nonprofits was limited. She did, however, read about Angelina Jolie’s humanitarian work in celebrity magazines. She originally wanted to work for the UN, but realized that she could have more of an impact as an entrepreneur.
She attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia on a swimming scholarship and earned both a bachelor’s degree in international relations and an MBA there. She was one of the first people to bring social entrepreneurship to Moscow when she hosted meetups during trips home on school breaks.
Moiseeva met GlobeIn’s founder Vladimir Ermakov at one of those meetings in December 2012. She was home in Moscow on winter break from her MBA studies at Old Dominion. She followed up with him after the event and worked her way into a role in marketing and social media at GlobeIn.
The company originally thought that it would be “Etsy for developing countries,” Moiseeva said, but the 1:1 customer to order ratio proved to be a logistical challenge and lead to long order delivery times.
“It was not a great experience in the age of Amazon when everyone wants instant gratification, Moiseeva said. “We started curating a themed experience with really highly curated products. We were really picky.”
Moving to a subscription box model allowed the company to scale more quickly and leverage marketing opportunities that come from the “unboxing” phenomenon on YouTube. Those influencers have helped to GlobeIn grow its customer base.
Moiseeva used her marketing expertise to help GlobeIn transform from “tchotchke” items to products that add value to their customers’ lives. Packing those items in a subscription format helped the company take off because it allowed for a curated experience and provided subscribers with the thrill of receiving new items each month.
GlobeIn’s subscribers also receive a brochure with every delivery that tells the story behind the artists who created the items in that box. They’ve found that customers enjoy these stories almost as much as the products themselves.
“It’s this really personal connection between you and the maker,” Moiseeva said.
GlobeIn works with the Fair Trade Federation to onboard new artisans and has established a base of operations in Oaxaca, Mexico. Moiseeva and her colleagues also keep on top of trends and identify areas where their artisans can fill gaps in the market.
One such example was a hanging wall organizer they saw on Pinterest. One of their artisans in Peru made a fair-trade version that’s now available on the site.
“The most interesting way for us to find artisans is to come up with an idea of a product and go back to our contacts and ask them ‘Can you artisan make this?’”
Beyond providing steady employment for artisans, GlobeIn works with communities around the world to improve access to everything from business training to healthcare. They track the social impact for every product they sell by asking partners questions about how many artisans they employ and how many family members each person has.
Looking forward, Moiseeva said GlobeIn hopes to continue growing its subscriber base so that the company can provide more opportunities for its artists around the world.
She also encourages consumers to educate themselves on fair trade and ethically sourced products, then pass that knowledge along to others.
“There are so many ethical fashion brands out there right now. Shop mindfully.”Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Liza Moiseeva
“This is the way to solve global issues — through successful businesses that are built not only for the sake of making money but also for the sake of solving any given social problem.”
“I was one of the first to do social entrepreneurship in Moscow.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World
“If I just sat there in Norfolk enjoying myself and not trying any new things, nothing would have happened.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World
“I never thought that I would be watching unboxing videos and sending boxes to YouTubers.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World
“Exceptional customer service goes a long way.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World
“It’s this really personal connection between you and the maker” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World
“Through the subscription box model, we are able to place really huge impactful orders with artisans.” @Lithaca
“I don’t feel bad about selling to people because every sale creates more jobs for the artisans.” @Lithaca
“Product first, mission second.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World
“Our products have to be able to compete with traditional businesses. No one will buy our products just because they are fair trade.”
“Customers are extremely educated now so it’s better to be transparent and honest.” @Lithaca
“Establish your business model and your pricing right away..” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World
“Shop mindfully.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_WorldSocial Entrepreneurship Resources:
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